Last summer a couple of the ladies that I work with and I were talking about work, how stressed we could get, how sometimes we felt solitary, even though there are people everywhere. The idea of a morale-boosting lunch came up, and after no progress in the weeks that followed, I jumped in and organized a potluck lunch for our department.
It was a great lunch; fun and relaxing and full of amazing food. We decided to do it monthly and we have been, for the past 7 months now. I am still the organizer and each month after the date is picked I email everyone their course. (I have a spreadsheet I created to keep track of who has made which course for what month, so no one has to make a main course 3 months in a row.) It's a nice way to socialize and relax for an hour. It's also a super way to find new recipes. The dishes have been creative and awesome and we definitely eat well. We've had pulled pork sandwiches, quesadillas, Italian meatloaf, bacon wrapped asparagus, cheesecake, and oh mah gawd. So much good food. Gee, I can't figure out why I am not losing any weight......
I don't have photos of most of my dishes but I thought I'd share what I've made for the lunches so far.
1. Vegetable - Cauliflower with Tomato Curry Sauce- I found this in a Weight Watchers cookbook I own. Recipe here. This was fabulous and the curry sauce is amazing. It would be great on other veggies or even meat, if you were so inclined.
2. Dessert - Tofu Mousse. Even after all these months, this is still a sore spot with me. I have made this mousse a few times before. It is really really good mousse. Anyway the day of the potluck I shared the "secret" of the mousse with one of my friends. She was quite surprised and was looking forward to trying it. Since it has been a few years since I made it, all of a sudden I couldn't decide if I should take the mousses out of the fridge for a while before the lunch, or leave them in until the last minute. I left them in the fridge, which was the wrong thing to do. The mousse was too firm. As my friend blurted out the ingredients of the mousse everyone took their first bite.....and it was too cold and too hard. No one said anything, but I could see that most people weren't enjoying it. I told everyone to let the dessert sit on their desks for a bit that afternoon and then eat them. I know a couple of them did, but I know a few got tossed out. It bummed me out, that a tofu dish was getting a bad rap AND quite frankly, that I was coming off looking like I don't know how to cook.
3. Main dish - Lettuce Wraps. This was a Rachael Ray recipe, chicken and veggies wrapped in lettuce. It was good.
4. Christmas - Caramels - This one has a story behind it that I was planning on telling here, but I don't know if I will. Short version is that I tried to make butterscotch sauce for ice cream, but it solidified, so I smeared it on to pretzel squares and drizzled them with chocolate for our Christmas potluck.
5. Drink - Grapefruit Margaritas - Everyone in the potluck group has agreed that Drink is the hardest category - especially when the drink has to be non-alcoholic. I found a recipe at Martha Stewart for Pink Grapefruit Margaritas. They were a hit - very refreshing. I will make these again when the weather warms up.
6. Appie - Tomatos Stuffed with Guacamole - so easy to make.
7. Salad - Chop Chop Salad. I have a photo of this one, only because I've made it before. A real winner from Guy Fieri. Excellent.